Exclusive Email - Jefferies CEO Hits Back At Media Distortions

Email Simon Stratford

This guy is no 'tone-deaf one-percenter'.

Jefferies CEO Richard Handler continues to stand up for what he believes in.

Not only is he involved in a legal spat against a local developer (taking the lead on behave of his neighbours who are concerned over nuisance and obstruction), but Handler has now hit out at the distorted press coverage of the affair.

Here's Handler's email sent out to his troops on Sunday evening, which put the affair into better perspective:

'I am writing to apologize to you for recent distractions in the media concerning me.

First, the media added together four years of my annual compensation into one year and purposely made me this year's poster child for Wall Street greed. Even when we shared the actual numbers with the reporters (before their stories were finalized), they chose to ignore them because sensationalism and distortion sells newspapers and true facts do not. We learned this well enough in November 2011, but it isn't easy to avoid.

On top of this, while I was finally away for a few days last week with my family, I came home to find myself portrayed as a "tone-deaf one-percenter” as the papers claimed I sued the City of New York for slightly obstructing the view from my apartment. Obviously, this is a huge distortion as well. I took the lead to help our neighborhood oppose what we know will be a major nuisance and disruption to our lives, and you can be assured we are not going after the City in any way and are only asking for their help in dealing with a huge potential problem. The short of it is that we want to stop a developer from putting up a rooftop bar that would allow 3,000 people to party until 4 am, seven days a week, with no limitation on live music - right in the middle of where we live.

Subsequent filings for their liquor license state that there could be hundreds of events a year. After efforts at a negotiated resolution failed, I reluctantly agreed to bring the lawsuit with the understanding that I would remain anonymous, clearly a colossal misjudgment on my part. For the record, this is the first personal lawsuit I have ever filed in my life, and while I believe my neighbors and I are right, I am incredibly upset about how this has been twisted in the press and may have reflected negatively on the firm.

Those of you who know me hopefully understand that I am not an arrogant, removed from reality Wall Street guy who would ever unfairly use wealth or position for personal gain. All I care about is enjoying my family and friends, and coming to work every day to help build Jefferies and Leucadia with the rest of you. I deeply regret if any of this has resulted in any of you needing to explain the type of person I am or defend the moral compass of the leadership of Jefferies / Leucadia.

Further, you can be assured we will continue to guard against allowing anything that may arise in the future to be further misconstrued against our firm'.

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts